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South Carolina Students Rise to the Top of NPR's Student Podcast Challenge

Microphone and headset
Patrick Breitenbach

Students in Heathwood Hall's "Studies in Leadership & Applied Journalism" class discuss the historic fatal shooting of The State newspaper's founding editor by a SC Lieutenant Governor

The year 2020 was beyond challenging for students. So, when a group of kids come together to create an exceptional work, especially during the confines of a pandemic, it’s an effort worth celebrating. Especially when those students are from right here in South Carolina.

Each year, NPR hosts their annual “Student Podcast Challenge.” Now entering its third year, the competition invites both middle and high school students from 47 states and the District of Columbia to collaborate, and to offer a podcast that focuses on a topic those students are passionate about, or a topic they’d like to explore. NPR suggests ideas like having the students share a story about their community, perhaps a topic of debate they believe is important to them, maybe a hometown mystery, or a local historic event. The students at Columbia’s Heathwood Hall chose a topic that combines both a shocking event that took place right in front of the Statehouse in early 1903, and its repercussions in the world of journalism. They chose to create a podcast based on the fatal shooting of one of the founders of The State newspaper, Narciso Gonzales, by the then Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, James Tillman.

NPR narrowed down the more than 2,600 student podcasts that were entered in this most recent competition to just 15, which included the one submitted by Heathwood’s Studies in Leadership and Applied Journalism class, helmed by Upper School Government Teacher Julie Firetag and Upper School Head George Scouten. The class includes students Elizabeth Burns, Sophia Conner, Addie-Grace Cook, Avery Goodale, Madeline Hurst, Brooklyn Moore, Pete Peterson, Liam Quan, Alexander Roberts, Daniel Sobel, Abby Suber, Ellie Tanner, Adelaide Wood, and Adair Wood. Follow the link to hear the podcast that NPR has posted as one of their Top 15 favorites: https://www.npr.org/2021/05/09/994612055/this-years-favorites-our-2021-spc-finalists

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Linda Núñez is a South Carolina native, born in Beaufort, then moved to Columbia. She began her broadcasting career as a journalism student at the University of South Carolina. She has worked at a number of radio stations along the East Coast, but is now happy to call South Carolina Public Radio "home." Linda has a passion for South Carolina history, literature, music, nature, and cooking. For that reason, she enjoys taking day trips across the state to learn more about our state’s culture and its people.